Sen. Sam Slom - Photo courtesy of Mel Ah Ching Productions
Sen. Sam Slom - Photo courtesy of Mel Ah Ching Productions

Yesterday the Senate fast-tracked HB 1034, SD1, an “emergency” appropriation bill to the Governor. I opposed this measure.

This bill originated from the Governor. There was no “emergency” to rush its passage other than the Governor and unions wanted it now.

The bill calls for taxpayers to pay $18 million-plus to the state employee health fund, EUTF, (in addition to another budget appropriation for the EUTF), to offset union medical premium increases because of the Governor’s promise to the labor unions on the day of his inauguration in December, 2010.

This was not the result of collective bargaining—there is currently a collective bargaining contract in effect—it was a political promise by the Governor to increase the taxpayer subsidy for union workers from 50% to 60% of their medical premiums.

We simply cannot afford this increase at  this time and it is unfair to private sector employers and employees who must pay for their own premiums and those of union government workers too.

The House Committee Report (HSCR 910) states in part, “…this emergency appropriation …is not and should not be construed as an approval or agreement by this Legislature to any cost item or any level of employer contribution after June 30, 2011.”

But this action is an approval by the Legislature.

On a Senate roll call vote of 24 present, the vote was 22-2 with Senators Hee and Slom voting no.

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